The Vitamin Status of the Elderly

A significant, but arguably neglected, problem is malnutrition among the elderly. In the UK it is thought that approximately 10% of people over the age of 65 suffer from malnutrition.

When the nutrition status of the elderly is tested it is frequently only the protein-energy malnutrition that is assessed. However, a study in the US showed that intakes below the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) were widespread for a range of micronutrients.

Vitamin D, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium and selenium are all micronutrients that have been identified as of a concern in the elderly, according to relevant data in Europe, Canada and the US. Meanwhile data from Germany suggests that the situation is even more critical among the elderly living in care homes due to mental or physical impairments.

The use of supplements can alleviate the current situation of malnutrition among the elderly, however, these are still not very widely used in Europe.

Read more about micronutrient deficiencies among the elderly here.

Biesalski HK, Drewnowski A, Dwyer JT, Strain JJ, Weber P, Eggersdorfer M. Sustainable Nutrition in a Changing World. Springer. 2017:167-183.


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